Doha — Qatar’s Al-Jazeera warned the journalists of the dire consequences under the “criminal procedures clause”, if they cover the ongoing protests in Iran, according to a leaked circular shared by London-based political expert Amjad Taha.
Regional Head of the British Center for Middle East Studies and Research, Taha tweeted, “Exclusive docs leaked from Aljazeera department in Doha: Qatar, which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has urged its media and Aljazeera in particular not to cover Iranian protests and not to tweet anything critical of the Iranian regime”.
The Arabic document dated 28th September 2022, states, “In implementation of the directives received from the network’s senior management, it is necessary to circulate to all Al Jazeera affiliates, including broadcasters, journalists and correspondents, banning publication of the demonstrations taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran on all media affiliated with Al Jazeera Media Network”.
“The ban also includes the personal social media accounts of the network’s affiliates. Anyone who violates this will be subjected to punishment under the criminal procedures clause“, it adds.
Iran and Qatar continue to have friendly relations. Following the end of the Gulf War in 1991, the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa, welcomed Iranian involvement in security arrangements for the Persian Gulf. However, these never materialized because of opposition from other Persian Gulf Arab States. Qatar still collaborates with Iran on security matters on a bilateral basis.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disclosed in May 2021 that Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, a former emir of Qatar, paid a $57 million ransom to release 57 IRGC fighters who had been captured by a group of armed opposition in southern Damascus in late 2012.
During the 2012 Arab Spring, the Qatari media outlet received criticism for fomenting the civil unrest, and for giving coverage to the uprising that took place in the Middle-East. Al-Jazeera broadcast the provocative speeches of the Muslim Brotherhood’s radical preacher late. Yusuf Qardawi, to legitimize the armed rebellion against the Arab governments.
During the latest protests in Iran that erupted after Mahsa Amini died in jail for not wearing “proper Hijab”, the state security agencies have killed over 320 people, including 51 children, and thousands have been detained.
The silence of Qatari media channels over Iranian protests, comes under question.